Film Theory / Italy and Film

Wednesday, August 23 at 7pm

There’s Something About Mary

Directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly (U.S. 1998) 119 min. 35MM. With Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller.

“The raunchy, hilarious — and surprisingly tender — comedy convulsed audiences and dazzled critics 20 years ago. In 2000, the American Film Institute ranked Mary No. 27 on its list of the 100 greatest American comedies, between Being There and Ghostbusters” (Los Angeles Times).

“The Farrellys’ sharp writing and precise execution of slapstick liken Mary closer to a postmodern take on the screwball romantic comedy. The legacy of the film is heavily, almost exclusively, influenced by the raunchy comedic set pieces — which remain humorous today. Viewers are left in awe that a major studio widely released a film with these sequences… few comedies as of late are this smart, curious, and hilarious in their confrontation of troublesome masculine fantasies.” (Collider).


Wednesday, September 6 at 7pm


Directed by Joyce Chopra (U.S. 1985) 91 min. DCP. With Laura Dern, Treat Williams.

Suspended between carefree youth and the harsh realities of the adult world, a teenage girl experiences an unsettling awakening in this haunting vision of innocence lost. Based on Joyce Carol Oates’ celebrated short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” and produced for PBS’ American Playhouse, the narrative debut from director Joyce Chopra features a revelatory breakout performance from Laura Dern as Connie, the fifteen-year-old black sheep of her family whose summertime idyll of beach trips, mall hangouts, and innocent flirtations is shattered by an encounter with a mysterious stranger (a memorably menacing Treat Williams). Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, Smooth Talk captures the thrill and terror of adolescent sexual exploration as it transforms the ingredients of a standard coming of age portrait into something altogether more troubling and profound.


Wednesday, September 20 at 7pm


Directed by Preston Sturges (U.S. 1948) 105 min. DCP. With Rex Harrison, Linda Darnell, Rudy Vallée, Edgar Kennedy.

In this pitch-black comedy from legendary writer-director Preston Sturges, Rex Harrison stars as Sir Alfred De Carter, a world-famous symphony conductor consumed with the suspicion that his wife is having an affair. During a concert, the jealous De Carter entertains elaborate visions of vengeance, set to three separate orchestral works. But when he attempts to put his murderous fantasies into action, nothing works out quite as planned. A brilliantly performed mixture of razor-sharp dialogue and uproarious slapstick, Unfaithfully Yours is a true classic from a grand master of screen comedy.


Wednesday, September 27 at 7pm


Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini (Italy/France 1971) 111 min. 35MM. With Franco Citti, Ninetto Davoli, Angela Luce. Italian with English subtitles.

In The Decameron, based on the sexually supercharged tales of Boccaccio, the outspoken Italian postwar artist Pier Paolo Pasolini (filmmaker/poet/novelist/painter/playwright, Christian, Communist and self-proclaimed “inconvenient guest” of modern society) plays the role of an aspiring fresco painter who is advised that his completed work will never be as satisfying as his dream of that work. A bawdy comedy and one of the director’s most popular films, this first installment in Pasolini’s “Trilogy of Life” established the raw viscerality of the series, combining gorgeous period locations with poetry, social satire, slapstick and sexuality.